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Avonlea's Prairie Pioneers

Avonlea and District Museum - Heritage House
Avonlea, Saskatchewan

In the late 1800ís, a handful of hardy immigrants populated the prairie around what is now the town of Avonlea. A rancherís nearest neighbour was fifteen miles or half a dayís ride away. No stores; no doctors; no automobiles. The earliest settlers were tested in this new and unforgiving land. They raised thousands of horses, before barbed-wire fences, for the flood of homesteaders soon to come. With the arrival of the rail, Avonlea became the centre for commerce and trade. Wheat, barley, oats and flax were the main crops grown in rich soil, and shipped out in boxcars. Trains brought dry goods, supplies, lumber and, of course, more homesteaders. Avonlea bustled with activity as homes, stores, equipment dealers and grain elevators sprang up. It was through innovative ideas and co-operative efforts that barns were raised and crops were harvested. It was through sacrifice, determination and prayer that homesteaders endured prairie fires, winter blizzards and crop failures. It took hard work and a never-give-up attitude to participate in threshing bees, quilting bees, stooking sheaves, driving horses and wagons, milking cows, plowing the land and planting the crops. The pioneering spirit of "neighbour helping neighbour" caused the Avonlea area to flourish. Traits from the past have ensured the sustainability of a vibrant community to this day.



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